Presentation on theme: "Albert Gatt LIN1180– Semantics Lecture 12. In this lecture We focus on tense and grammatical aspect Progressive/non-progressive Perfective/imperfective."— Presentation transcript:
Albert Gatt LIN1180– Semantics Lecture 12
In this lecture We focus on tense and grammatical aspect Progressive/non-progressive Perfective/imperfective Aspect across languages Interaction of grammatical aspect and lexical aspect (Aktionsart)
Part 1 Tense as a deictic system
A general characterisation of deixis Deictic expressions rely on the context of utterance deictic demonstrative pronouns: this, that, those… deictic place expressions: here, there… Relevant features of the context: physical context persons involved in communication time
Tense as deictic Classic distinction between: past present future Relies on the relationship in time between the event talked about and the time of utterance therefore, the reference point is usually the act of speaking
Graphical characterisation time of utterance past present future I see the moon. I am seeing the moon. I saw the moon. I was seeing the moon. I will see the moon. I will be seeing the moon.
Tense across languages English: usually marks tense using auxiliary verbs I see I am seeing I will be seeing Maltese: can mark temporal distinctions on the main verb nara (I see), rajt (I saw)… uses particles for fine-grained temporal distinctions se nara (I am going to see)
Tense vs grammatical aspect Progressive aspect: I listen (non-progressive) I am listening (progressive) Note: tense is distinct from grammatical aspect! – Both examples are in the present tense. Past/Present/Future rely on the relationship between the time of an event and the moment of speaking.
Perfect We can often locate an event in the present/past/future, and use it as a reference point for another event. When you called, I had finished my work. Main reference point: now, moment of speaking Two events: you called and I had finished my work Relationship to moment of speaking: Both in the past. Relationship to eachother: Within the past time, one occurs before the other.
When you called, I had finished my work time of utterance past (yesterday evening) present future you called finish work main reference point for past tense is the time of utterance time of finish work acts as reference for you called
Perfect aspect in English Emphasises temporal relationship to a secondary reference point Present perfect: I have eaten the event of eating has terminated by the time of speaking Past perfect: I had eaten (before I left) event of eating has terminated by the time of leaving time of leaving is related to the time of speaking using the past Future perfect: I will have eaten (by the time you arrive) event of eating will terminate by the time something else happens secondary event is related to the time of speaking in the future
Reichenbachs theory of time Hans Reichenbach (1966): proposed a theory to account for both simple and perfect tenses System uses three different times: actual event time (E) reference time or time to which event is related (R) utterance time (= moment of speaking) (U)
Simple present pastpresentfuture E = R = U Example: I sleep Reference time, utterance time and event time are the same
Simple past pastpresentfuture U Example: I slept E before U (therefore past) R = E (no secondary relation) E = R
Simple future pastpresentfuture U Example: I will sleep E is after U (therefore future) R = E (no secondary relation) E = R
Present perfect pastpresentfuture R = U Example: I have slept E before U (therefore, event understood as having already occurred) R = U basically relating a past event explicitly to the present E
Past perfect pastpresentfuture R Example: By the time you arrived, I had slept E before U R before U R after E relating a past event explicitly to another event that occurred after it, but also in the past EU
Future perfect pastpresentfuture R Example: By the time you arrive tonight, I will have slept U before E (therefore future) U before R E before R Relating a future event explicitly to another event in the future which occurs after it E U
Summary Tense is deictic, and requires reference to the time of speaking to be determined. Distinction between: simple tenses perfect tenses Reichenbachs model uses three temporal parameters to describe the semantics of different tenses.
Grammatical aspect Part 2
Tense vs Aspect Tense is about the location of an event in time. (Tense as deictic) Aspect has to do with the temporal distribution or contour of an event (Comrie, 1976). Aspect is independent of tense.
Lexical vs. grammatical aspect Lexical aspect (Aktionsart): an inherent property of the semantics of verbs (sentences) related to the type of situation under discussion cf. lectures 10 & 11 Grammatical aspect: ways of specifying the temporal contour of an event using grammatical means
Grammatical mechanisms Russian: perfective/imperfective marked inflectionally On č ital pismo He read.PAST.IMPERFa letter He was reading a letter On pro č ital pismo He read.PAST.PERFa letter He read a letter
Grammatical mechanisms Maltese perfective/imperfective marked inflectionally Qara ittra. read.3MSg.PERFa letter He read a letter Jaqra ittra. read.3MSg.IMPERFa letter. He reads a letter
Grammatical mechanisms Maltese progressive/non-progressive marked using aspectual particles Jaqra ittra. read.3MSg.IMPERFa letter. He reads a letter Qed jaqra ittra. PROGread.3MSg.IMPERFa letter. He is reading a letter
Grammatical mechanisms English: progressive/non-progressive marked inflectionally on main verb and auxiliary I went to the pub. I was going to the pub.
(aspect) PerfectiveImperfective A preliminary classification
The perfective: definition The perfective aspect involves a view of a situation as a whole. I.e. it implies: a beginning a middle an end NB: viewing the situation as a whole does not imply that the event is completed (i.e. finished).
Perfective and tense Some languages restrict the application of the perfective to the past tense. suggests that the complete view is only applied retrospectively. MalteseArabic Qara ittra. read.3MSg.PERF letter He read a letter Harbat al-bint run away.3FSg.PERF the-girl The girl ran away
Perfective and tense In many languages, perfective aspect is used with different tenses. Russian On pro č ital pismo (past, perfective) He read a letter ja ubju tebja (future, perfective) I shall kill you
Perfectivity and duration Despite viewing the situation as a whole, the perfective is compatible with an expression of the duration of a situation. MalteseFrench Qrajt sagħtejn sħaħ. I read for two whole hours Il regna trente ans. He reigned for 30 years
The imperfective: definition The imperfective aspect involves an explicit reference to the internal temporal structure of a situation. It contrasts with the perfective insofar as it does not view the situation externally, as a whole.
(aspect) PerfectiveImperfective Habitual(Continuous) Non- progressive Progressive A more complete classification In many languages, the same form can express more than one imperfective aspect!
The habitual aspect Views a situation as recurring indefinitely. English John works/worked here. John used to work here. Simple Past tense in English may have a habitual meaning. Simple present often used with habitual meaning. Habituality in the past can be marked explicitly with used to.
Progressive vs. non-progressive In the progressive, a situation is marked as ongoing. Again, this is independent of tense. English John read the book. (non-prog, past) John was reading the book. (prog., past) John will be reading the book. (prog., fut.)
Non/progressive vs im/perfective English does not explicitly distinguish im/perfective. But the English progressive vs. non-progressive distinction seems to correlate with the perfective/ imperfective distinction. English John read the book. (non-progressive + offers a complete view of the situation) John was reading the book. (progressive, also views the situation internally)
Non/progressive vs im/perfective Some languages distinguish im/perfective and non-/progressive more sharply. Spanish Juan llegó. (perfective) John arrived. Juan llegaba. (imperfective, non-progressive) John was arriving/used to arrive. (NB: can have progressive or habitual meaning) Juan estaba llegando. (imperfective + progressive) John was arriving. (progressive only)
Non/progressive vs im/perfective With a situation described in the perfective, continuation with the imperfective seems contradictory. Russian ?On napisal pismo i eš č e pišet ego. He wrote.PERF a letter and still writes.IMPERF it He wrote a letter and is still writing it. The anomaly disappears with the use of the imperfective. Russian My pisali pismo i eš č e pišet ego. We wrote.IMPERF a letter and stillwriteit We wrote a letter and are still writing it.
Non/progressive vs im/perfective We can observe the same in English with the progressive/non-progressive forms. This is further evidence that English non-/progressive covers some of the im/perfective distinction. English ?John built a fire escape and is still building it. John was building a fire escape and is still building it.
The English progressive English progressive tends to have connotations of activity, dynamism and volition. She blinked her eyes. The dog was walking. ?She was knowing Greek. ?She was having blonde hair. Thus, it tends to be infelicitous with states.
The English progressive The progressive aspect interacts with situation type (lexical aspect). cf. the activity/accomplishment distinction With accomplishments (+telic), the progressive cancels the implication that the end state was reached. ActivityAccomplishment John ran. John was running. John drew a circle. John was drawing a circle.
The imperfective in other languages In other languages, the imperfective is compatible with states. E.g. French imparfait Unlike the English progressive, it does not carry connotations of dynamism. French Lair sentait de jasmin. DEF-airsmell.3SgM.PAST.IMPERF of jasmine The air smelt of jasmine.
The English non-/progressive in future English uses progressive and non-progressive present for future. Regular future I will eat out tomorrow. I will play well tomorrow. Pres. progressive Im eating out tomorrow. ?Im playing well tomorrow. Simple present I leave tomorrow. ?I play well tomorrow. Simple present and progressive are only felicitous with events which imply volition, can be planned or are certain. This is in line with the connotations noted earlier for the English progressive.